Last time, I talked about the costs of magic. It sucks, and it costs, and it will burn everything from your bank account to your soul itself, but magic is worth it. Magic is the locked gate that keeps higher fulfillment and human realization from most of the world, and magic is the golden key that unlocks the mysteries to attaining them. It may have a high price, but it has an even higher payoff that makes magic worth it.
Being a magician for only a few years now, but having the success and results of people who’re far older than I am (I credit having good teachers, good friends, and good allies abounding), I’ve learned a few things that helps in minimizing the burn, or at least in maintaining onself through being burned, so as to keep on keeping on. This works for me, and I can only suggest it as part of a daily practice and regular maintenance in any magician’s life. Even these steps may suck at times, but they help overall in minimizing the real burn going on from the real magic.
- Sanitize. Keep your entire sphere clean and cleansed, from the basest material components to the highest intellectual and divine ones. Air out your house, vacuum your carpets, sweep the floorboards, dust the fanblades, wash the car, light the candles, burn the camphor, sprinkle the holy water, clean all the things. Asperge yourself with holy water or other cleansing agents frequently. Do regular banishing and force balancing on yourself. Recleanse and reconsecrate your tools, talismans, and ritual space every so often. The more astral dirt you accrue by tracking it in from the higher spheres, or the more dust you bring in from inviting higher ups down into your house, the more confused and imbalanced things get down here and up there alike. Keep yourself, your surroundings, your tools, and your mind clean, cleansed, and clear.
- Learn. You can’t do anything if you don’t know how to do it. Read any and all books you can get your hands on magic, philosophy, religion, spirituality, mathematics, literature, mythology, archaeology, linguistics, folk traditions, fiction ancient and new, science, engineering, history, economics, crafting, and more. Take classes in whatever you have an interest in, whether it’s related to magic or not. Talk with friends about their hobbies, experiences, stories, advice, warnings, hopes, dreams, fears, and desires. Expanding your mind also expands the potential horizons you can explore, no matter how innocuous or trivial something may seem. Don’t harbor any biases on what you read, study, or discuss; keep an open mind and admit anything with practical merit. Go on roadtrips just to see new things. Walk in big cities to see new faces and fashions. Read blogs with political opinions opposite yours (but are well-written and reasoned).
- Protect. If you’ve got one foot in the door to get into the mysteries, you also leave the door ajar for ethereal nasties to come at you. Don’t let them. Set up barriers, shields, or guards around your house. Make protective charms, phylacteries, or enchanted trinkets to keep on yourself. Find out what force you best resonate with and manipulate it to act as a shield around you. Always keep an eye out for anything awry or ominous. Create a few magical or ritual weapons to call on or call up when needed. Create magical oils or incenses to keep out bad things and keep in good things. Be mindful of barriers, boundaries, and circles that have already been erected. Don’t go looking for bad stuff just to mess with it for shits and giggles.
- Breathe. Breathing is the source of life down here, and aspiration shares the same root with “inspiriation” and “spirit”. By knowing, feeling, and controlling our breath we control our voice level, our speech and diction, our bloodflow, our thought patterns, and ultimately ourselves who are tied into material reality just as we are into spiritual reality. Breathing is the crux of meditation, and meditation is the crux of knowing yourself, which is the holiest injunction humanity has. Breathing, just breathing, is magical in and of itself; it’s what animates us, ensouls us, and keeps us alive and living. Breathing is the foundation of magic, and breathing must be known, understood, and integrated constantly with oneself in order to progress.
- Pray. Humans, powerful as we are, were never meant to be alone in any sense of the word, nor can we make it to our goals on our own. We need help, and prayer is how we obtain it. Pray for guidance, for patience, for mercy, for compassion, for humility, for forgiveness, for health, for sight, for knowledge, for wisdom, for authority, for power, for light (and in that order). Pray the Source, the gods, the angels, the celestials, the elementals, the dead, and each other for their blessings, advice, guidance, alignment, unity, and boons. Pray to know how to use the blessings and boons given to us to the best of our abilities and for the best result for all of us. Pray with praise, pray with emotion, pray with silence. Pray with your entire body, soul, spirit and mind. Pray every day, pray several times a day. Pray.
- Stay healthy. Humans are amphibious, both spiritual and physical. Magic is largely focused on the spiritual, but it always needs to bring the spiritual and astral down into the material and physical. Be sure you don’t neglect your body, because that’s the primary vehicle you have to work magic, and the one tool you’ll always have with you in the world. Get enough sleep every night. Go to bed at the same time every night. Get enough to eat every day, but no more. Eat the proper things in the proper amounts. Shower, wash your hair, brush your hair, brush your teeth, floss your teeth, exfoliate, deodorize. Get at least half an hour of light physical activity every day. Expose yourself to the elements once every so often. Go outside and enjoy the sunlight, moonlight, starlight, wind, mist, clouds, rain, rivers, oceans, dirt, trees, and animals. “Healthy” has its roots in the same word as “whole”, and you need to stay whole physically in order to spiritually progress wholesomely.
- Get dirty. Actually go out into the world and remind yourself that you’re still a physical, material being that has physical, material needs. Everything in moderation, yes, but also including moderation: get sick, get jacked up, get fucked up, get high, get rich, get poor, get happy, get sad, get angry, get lonely, get loved. We’re human beings to experience human life, after all, and without that experience we’ve ultimately failed at out birth’s purpose. Getting ourselves meshed in human life, living in the world while not wholly of it, helps keep things in perspective and shows the power of the cleansing, cleaning, Light-bearing work we’re doing. Plus, getting dirty helps us realize that even the dirt is pure and holy, that nothing is truly separate from the Source from which it came.
- Do it. Complain however much you like or don’t complain at all; magic is going to suck no matter what. That doesn’t change the fact that you’re a magician to do magic. Do it. Do it now. There’s no other way, time, or place to do it. Just do it.
The more you burn up, the more of you there is to burn until burning doesn’t need to happen anymore. Don’t worry about what’s burnt up and gone. Worry about what you have left to burn and what can still be purified and transmuted into the pure divine essence we really are and should be.
I’m prone to gingivitis, the inflammation of the gums generally from plaque. Part of it’s my own dietary and hygienic habits, and part of it is my genetics and natural body’s processes. That doesn’t mean I need to have gingivitis, much less that I should. How do I keep my gums clean and free from the disease? More toothbrushing, flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash, and watching what and when I eat. Does this all get easier with time? Nope; it still takes as much time the hundredth day as it did the first, the same spots in my gums still need maintenance, and my food choices are still as obnoxious as ever. Is the payoff worth it? Totally; my teeth are whiter, my breath stinks less, my gums bleed less, and my mouth is generally healthier than before. The payoff here is worth the cost of the daily maintenance, and if (heavens forbid) I ever have to go under for a root canal or other major dental operation, it’ll all go easier before, during, and after due to my lack of gingivitis and better oral care.
Magic works much the same way. Dealing with the raw forces of creation and the stars is dangerous and you risk not being able to handle the influx of those energies without the proper maintenance. Laying the foundation of daily practice to stabilize, sanctify, and secure your life goes a long way in dealing with the heavy machinery of the cosmos. If you don’t have the rest of your house in order, don’t expect good times to result when you invite emissaries and presidents of foreign planes of existence in. If you have your house and life in order and prepared in the proper way, you’ll still have to go through the paperwork and shopping and security drama, but the emissaries and presidents will be more pleased, more willing, and more able to help you who’ve helped yourself so much without them. Daily or regular mainteance takes time and effort all in itself, and that’s not even where the real heart of magic lies, but it’s that very same regular maintenance that builds the tower to get to it.